Kim Tschang-Yeul is famous as the ‘water drops artist’. He presented his abstract work by expressing his scars from the war on canvas through the Informel Movement from 1950s to 1960s. After settling down in New York in the mid-1960s, he went through a geometric period, changing his style with the concrete features of the pop art that dominated the world of the arts in New York at that time and the impressions from broad color spaces found in minimalism.
During the late 1960s, he created work that cleverly used concrete or abstract expressions in a broad space in accordance with his experimentation up to that point. These works are the ＜Phenomenon＞ series. The ＜Phenomenon＞ series can be considered the bridge connecting the ＜Water Drops＞ series he began in 1972 with his geometric series, his past work, by depicting figures out of which thick liquid comes and flows down.
Starting to use font on the screen through work that used the magazine ‘Figaro’ in the mid-1970s, he changed his working style by writing the fonts on the screen himself. The ＜Water Drops＞ series with Chinese characters as the background that he started from the mid-1980s can be said to be the essence of his work. The ＜Water Drops＞ work to which he devoted himself for about 40 years is highly diverse, including one water drop dominating the canvas, water drops filling the entire canvas, brilliant water drops formed just a moment ago and water drops that seem to run down or to have soaked into the surface right away. By creating such diverse water drops, his media also changed to include newspapers, hemp cloth, sand or wooden plates as well as canvas. He also drew the tracks of water drops that had soaked into the surface, and roughly painted oil paints or Chinese characters to expose the figurative aspects of water drops.
The ＜Water Drops＞ series by Kim Tschang-Yeul was presented with Chinese characters as the background from the 1990s. The lines of Chinese characters enhanced the figurative features of the water drops. Moreover, it was also visually exciting to find out the strokes of the character reflected by the water drops on the canvas. Meanwhile, other art critics began to select the ＜Water Drops＞ series with Chinese characters as the background as the essence of Kim’s works, with which Kim agreed. Those works created a new opportunity for thinking by exposing the philosophy and spirit of the East more strongly.
From 2000, Kim Tschang-Yeul attempted a change in various forms and colors beyond the background with the low color saturation which he continued to use. The Chinese characters are drawn on a sky blue background in ＜Bell＞ (2003) while an energetic yellow background with high color saturation different from past work was applied in ＜Yellow Earth＞ (2003). Kim tried out installation art by filling a large glass jar in a water drop shape with water and hanging it from the ceiling on metal wire in ＜Meditation＞ (2004).